Take care of my baby

OK time to pick up where I left off. Been a bit busy selling my company and now I’m a supposed free woman but of course that’s not really the case. Scarcely has the ink dried on the contract and you have to start executing the handover.

As I organised all the documents generated I realise just how much of my life I had sunk into the business and how much I had learnt. It had never been about the end point (the sale) but all about the journey and the challenge.

The new owners of the business realise how much I had put in and reassure me that they will “take care of my baby”. I felt somewhat bereft last Friday night as I mused over how much I had put into the business. We had chosen to watch Macbeth at our local pub theatre which was a terrific play but put me in a very reflective mood.

So was it really all worth it? The answer partially came to me during a lunch I had yesterday with an old friend who I had not seen in quite a while and who was already onto his second business. He had tweaked the business model and had since moved into the real estate business. He was very excited and keen for me to be a sounding board for his new venture.

I remembered with some nostalgia that same excitement more than three and a half years ago when I was setting up my business and thought about the advice that would have been useful. My first question concerned cash flow. What were his outgoings? The income often takes twice as long as you think to generate. What were the assumptions in his business plan about conversion from enquiry to house sale? How long did he think it would take him to make a sale? I suggested some “what if” planning. What if it takes you twice as long to get those sales? What if your conversions are less optimistic than you think? I talked about the challenges of persuading people to work on a commission basis.

I suggested investing some time mapping out his processes and how to do things so that he can scale up his business more easily when his marketing starts to work.

So are the mental scars of running a business in Britain worth it? Yes, but watch this space for more lessons learned.

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